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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Onwards and upwards.

Helen wanted to go back into Berkhamsted for a bit of a shopping trip whilst I did a few jobs around the boat. needless to say we were a bit later than expected in leaving our mooring.

Before going up the lock by the station we passed the Totem Pole. This was commissioned in 1968 by John Alsford who owned a wood and timber company and importer. It was made in Kwakiuti, British Columbia, and Canada. It was erected in the company wood yard here in Berkhamsted. It was carved by Chief Henry Hunt of the Kwakiutl Tribe, with help from his son Tony Hunt. The pole depicts at the bottom the two headed sea serpent Sisiutl. In the middle is the hawkman sun with rays radiating also there are moon and star masks. At the top there is usually a bird. This one is a raven that depicts several things but normally the creator. Over all this pole shows that the Raven, the creator brought light to the world and Sisiutl is looking after it. Each family 'own' a certain design but these are spread by marriage.

As we arrived at the station lock there was a boat going up. He did say that he would wait for us at Gas Lock but I did say that we were going to top up with water. That didn't take very long at all, and he was waiting for us, despite another boat that was going up could have waited for him. He was a single handed with three dogs but we had a good chat and he certainly pulled his weight with the work and didn't expect me to do it all for him.

I think that this is Gas Lock No.1 above Berkhamsted. It looks like the brick building is a pumping station and I did find another similar further up the locks (but forget which).

The houses next to Dudswell top lock are very photogenic. Our lock companion decided to moor up before the lock so we had a couple to do on our own.

Helen did the boat handling today and I was toting the windlass. I do like a chance to swing a few gates and wind a few paddles. There is a lot of satisfaction in getting everything emptying or filling as efficiently as possible. It is not about rushing but being efficient and economic and minimise the effort and energy used. I also find the same satisfaction is handling the boat, getting the boat in the right position to enter the lock, move with the minimum of use of the tiller and minimum use of the engine. The secret I suppose is to find a challenge in everything and see if you can improve on it each time. After about thirty years of handling all sorts of craft from huge seagoing tankers with tugs to narrowboats you get to realise that it is a little like golf, it is different every time and keeps you guessing. The best you can hope for is that you learn how to 'get away with' by being able to get yourself out of trouble if something happens.

We saw that their was nobody at the services at the top of Cowroast Lock so we stopped and emptied what needed emptying and soon after we were moored up after what seemed a long day but as we started so late. really wasn't. We called fellow blogger Les and Jaq and we were soon meeting up with them for the first time for a chat. We were pleased to see them both looking so well and our hour long chat soon ended up being about three hours.

We found out way back to the boat with enough time for me to get the aerial up and tune the TV in before Bake Off. At first there signal was not very good, flickering in and out. I was getting dirty looks from Helen but after tightening all the coaxial connections it came good and my night was saved.

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